Mobile devices have become an integral part of our everyday lives, serving a multitude of functions ranging from making purchases and unlocking doors to starting our cars and turning on the house lights. Mobile devices also contain a wealth of personal information such as our maps, phone books, recipes, shopping lists, and often contain family memories in video and pictures. The growing reliance on mobile devices has also led to an increase in the number of cyber threats targeting them. The more reliance we have on our devices, the more we are impacted if compromised. Taking the time to make sure your device is secure is very important.
Here are some things you can do to help lower your risk and protect your devices:
- • WiFi/ Internet Networks – One of the primary ways mobile devices communicate is by using an internet connection. Pay attention to the types of networks you are connecting to and avoid accessing sensitive information if you are on a public network. Free wireless access points often have weak security settings, if any at all. Cybercriminals use an old but effective impersonation tactic that broadcasts a wireless network name such as “Free WiFi/Internet” or a known public wireless service provider to trick people into connecting in order to access your personal activity.
- • Bluetooth – When headphones, speakers or other Bluetooth accessories are not being used, it is good practice to turn off your Bluetooth setting if not needed. If Bluetooth is left on, disable automatic pairing.
- • Applications (Apps) – Only use apps available in your device’s official store. NEVER download from a browser. Be wary of apps from unknown developers or those with limited/bad reviews. If the developer or app store no longer supports them, delete and remove them from all devices. Much like the applications on your computers, keep your mobile apps updated to ensure they have the latest security. Many applications offer security and privacy options related to tracking your use. It is highly recommended to review these settings to limit any data collection.
- • SMS Phishing (“Smishing”) – Do not respond to or tap on messages received from senders that are not in your contacts. If you receive a message you were not expecting, it may be a scam trying to get you to enter sensitive info like your login credentials or may be impersonating a popular payment app. Treat these messages in the same way you would a suspicious email message! When in doubt, throw it out! Delete!
- • Voice Phishing (Vishing) – Combined with Robo-Calls, vishing has become very popular as criminals continue to impersonate the IRS, your Bank, Microsoft or other known organizations to trick you into revealing your sensitive information such as passwords, social security numbers, or credit card details. These calls often involve automated messages with live persons instructing the victim to call back a specific number to resolve an “urgent” issue. Do not respond to calls of this nature. If you are unsure, hang up and call the institution directly using numbers posted on the back of your Bank card or the company’s official website.
Please visit our Cybersecurity Center for more helpful information on keeping information safe from cyber threats!